Use texture, height and variety to create pizzazz in your small garden this fall

October 18, 2019 by  
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As the crisp, misty mornings of fall greet the day, autumn colors emerge across the landscape. Meanwhile, your garden and flower pots begin to look barren and colorless as annuals die off and perennials go dormant for the upcoming winter. In most areas, though, there is still plenty of life left in the fall, even in the smallest spaces around your home. With a bit of planning, you can bring a new season of life to your porch, patio or balcony, even during the short days of fall. To get started, follow these tips for color, variety, texture and height variation. Color Fall is synonymous with falling leaves and bare trees, leaving a trail of red, orange and yellow along the roads. You can match the colors associated with the season using pumpkin decor, rusty red or gold mums, plants that produce berries, ornamental grasses and plants that retain their colorful leaves until late into the season. Grab a journal and list some plants common to your area that offer complementary colors. Then, add in some accents, like prolific white mums, silver-leaved herbs such as sage and evergreens like boxwood for a stable green color. On that note, remember that evergreens are a delightful option for every season and make a nice backdrop to seasonal plants that you can swap out every few months. This gives you a lot of options year-round, even with limited space. Related: 11 unique edible plants for your garden Variety Along with the plan for color comes a blueprint for variety. Your preference might be to have window boxes full of a single varietal. If so, great! If not, choose plants that contrast each other throughout the space. Include plants with different types of leaves, heights and lifespans. Put some in the window box, but surround it with potted plants, shrubs, trees and even an ever-changing vase of fresh wildflowers. Just be sure to choose options that can be pruned to stay small or are naturally compact. Even your planters can add to the variety in texture and color. Use galvanized buckets or watering cans mixed with colorful ceramic pots and a miniature wheelbarrow. Insert a glass vase with bamboo , surround plants with an old tire or carve out a pumpkin for a naturally-compostable planter. Use bronze, terracotta or copper to add to the fall color palette, and make them really stand out by surrounding them with white rocks. Texture Plants in nature vary from each other as much as the human face or fingerprint. Embrace that diversity to feed the need for visual appeal. After all, your garden space, no matter how small, should bring you pleasure. Mix it up — bring in some spiky leaves and balance those with the dainty Sweet Alyssum. Throw in some curvy-edged flowering kale, and place it next to your Aster that still might be in bloom, attracting bees and butterflies well into the season. Height Nothing adds variety and depth like a display of flowers, plants and shrubs of varying heights. This can be accomplished using supports or props. For example, use a window box. Then, place a table beneath it with potted plants ranging from tiny succulents to larger herbs . On the ground, add another layer of potted or planted options. Mix in small trees and shrubs if your space allows. You can also choose plants that are all planted in the same bed with diverse heights. Just plant the tallest selections in the back, so they don’t obscure the view of the lower-to-the-ground superstars behind them. Depending on how much space you have, you might include a dwarf conifer, Dogwood or slow-growing Japanese Maple. For very small spaces , use pots to contain purple fountain grass, croton and other plants. Also, use those long-lasting summer climbers to your advantage. Create height with the hops over the pergola, grapes covering the arbor or ivy up the pillars in the front of the house. Placement Another planning consideration includes the placement of your plants. For a back patio or areas where you still spend a lot of time outdoors in the fall, create clusters of texture or color along the edges. Plant a tree just off the edge of the deck and surround it with seasonal potted plants that sit on the deck, creating a vignette of eye-catching cohesion. If you spend most of your time next to the window near the front porch, invest in color within the frame of the window. For an upstairs office, load up the window box. If you’re going for curb appeal, make sure to include border plants to pull the look together. A simple display of a few potted chrysanthemums with some decorative gourds can spice up the entrance to your home. Hanging baskets are another option that complement your decor in any season and work in any space, large or small. Small gardens might present some challenges, but with the right plant selections, you can create spaces that bring visual interest and life to your balcony or patio throughout the seasons. Images via Shutterstock

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Use texture, height and variety to create pizzazz in your small garden this fall

This adventurous couple revamped an old Airstream into a dream house on wheels

March 23, 2018 by  
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Many people purchase items on eBay–but only a few decide to live in them. When Atlanta-based couple Sheena and Joe stumbled upon an old Airstream  for sale on eBay, they decided to transform it into a home on wheels perfect for avid travelers like themselves. They revamped the Airstream and had it road-ready 10 months later. The original owners intended to use the trailer as a retirement home, but their plans fell through, leaving the Airstream in storage for eight years. After Sheena and Joe purchased it, they affectionately named it Mavis and set about turning it into a mobile living space. Related: Airstream unveils new off-grid ready Globetrotter trailer The couple renovated the structure, including the plumbing and electrical work, themselves. They also included two dedicated work areas and relocated the bedroom from the rear to the front of the trailer, which receives the most sunlight during the day. They added wood accents to the walls and countertops and designed the space in a minimalist Scandinavian style. Ample storage spaces are hidden under the sofa and bed, as well as under the refrigerator. Because of the lack of space, the couple learned to make every inch count and have everything inside serve a purpose. Related: Apollo 70 Airstream trailer renovated as an amazing “green” cocktail bar on wheels Sheena and Joe have already tested the road-readiness of the trailer by traveling through the western part of the United States. They plan to continue using the trailer while traveling and, eventually, to build a small solar-powered container home , with a special place in the backyard for Mavis. + Mavis the Airstream Via Dwell

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This adventurous couple revamped an old Airstream into a dream house on wheels

Poor urban design could be at fault for Uber driverless car crash

March 23, 2018 by  
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Uber’s self-driving cars are grounded after a fatal accident over the weekend — but a Cato Institute article questions if bad urban design was really to blame. Elaine Herzberg, the woman killed, seems to have been using a pedestrian path, which the institute described as poorly designed, before attempting to cross a street. The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones. Our cars remain grounded, and we're assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can. https://t.co/wUfLw2nNnk — Uber Comms (@Uber_Comms) March 22, 2018 A fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona involving an Uber driverless car left in its wake questions about the safety of autonomous vehicles . But it seems “the accident could not have been prevented no matter who was in control of the car ,” according to Randal O’Toole for the Cato Institute. Related: Uber grounds all self-driving vehicles after fatal Arizona accident Herzberg was reportedly walking on a roadway median before stepping out into traffic — and the Uber car, which did have a backup driver at the wheel, didn’t even have a moment to brake. The Cato Institute shared an aerial view, seen below, of Herzberg’s probable path. In between the northbound and southbound lanes of North Mill Avenue, there’s a median strip with a paved pedestrian path. There’s a sign, seen via Google Maps , indicating no pedestrians, telling them to use a crosswalk — so pedestrians or cyclists using the trails aren’t supposed to walk over the strip. But the Cato Institute pointed out the pedestrian path saves almost two-tenths of a mile, making it a tempting alternative for people walking or biking. O’Toole was loath to blame the victim in his article, but didn’t think the car was at fault either. He said “the question that must be asked is why are there paved trails between the north and southbound lanes of Mill Avenue when there is no safe way for pedestrians to use those trails?” Via Cato Institute Images via zombieite on Flickr and Cato Institute

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This low-cost forest house on stilts is a minimalist dream in Vietnam

January 3, 2018 by  
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This charming forest house on stilts allows two people to experience the beauty and simplicity of living in a remote mountain setting. Architect Chu V?n ?ông designed the structure as a low-cost dwelling that is easy to build and that places focus on the surrounding environment, rather than on interior luxuries. The house is nestled in the lush wooded landscape of Northern Vietnam . As a simple, temporary residence, the Forest House offers a minimalist space that draws the eye toward the surrounding greenery. Large glass surfaces blur the line between the interior and the exterior and allow natural light to bathe the living area. Related: Incredible daylit house in Vietnam is filled with living trees The building can accommodate two people. Its interior is stripped down to the essentials and includes a wood-burning stove , a bed that doubles as a bay window bench, and a wooden table top that can be used for dining and work. The designer hopes that the project, which was built on a small budget, will inspire other temporary housing projects in the area. + Chu V?n ?ông Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Handyman

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This low-cost forest house on stilts is a minimalist dream in Vietnam

Ultra-narrow Wood Lane house looks like a ship wedged between Londons brick buildings

November 28, 2017 by  
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This narrow house , home of architect Mike Russum , looks like a ship wedged in-between traditional brick townhouses in north London . The architect maximized the potential of the 22-foot wide plot by inverting the conventional layout used in tiny spaces and combining prefab building methods with site-built construction. The house, named Wood Lane, has been long-listed for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) House of the Year award. Russum and his partner decided to build their home after they inherited some money in 2006. It took nearly a decade to get over various hold-ups to complete the building. Located on an extremely narrow plot–only 22 feet wide– the project required a creative organizational approach. Related: Super skinny 1.8-meter-wide house slots into a narrow Tokyo lot The architects extended the upper floors out towards the pavement. The structure was constructed off-site and placed them on top of the lower section, which was built from bricks infilled with concrete and supported by steel beams. The double-height living space on the upper floors contains an open plan space with combined kitchen, dining and living space with an elevated crystalline conservatory on the south side and an external terrace above the entrance. The elements for the living space are made by cold formed timber and resin boat building technology which ensures quality and space efficient construction. The upper ground floor houses the study that opens to a full-width terrace overlooking the garden. Two en-suite bedrooms occupy the lower ground floor. All the furniture is custom-designed by Birds Portchmouth Russum , working together with the architect’s wife, interior designers, and artist Sally Cox. The nautical look of the building makes it stand out from the surrounding architecture and stop passersby in their tracks. The residence also featured on the Channel 4 series Grand Designs: House of the Year. + Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects + RIBA House of the Year 2017 Via The Telegraph

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Ultra-narrow Wood Lane house looks like a ship wedged between Londons brick buildings

These beautiful ceramic heaters help Mexicos vulnerable communities stay warm

October 23, 2017 by  
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These wonderful ceramic Nest heaters are designed to provide much-needed warmth to vulnerable communities in the region of Chiapas, Mexico . The prototypes, designed by Estudio äCo , utilize the properties of ceramics to dissipate and conserve heat. The ECN02 (fire ceramic nest 02) and ECN03 (electric ceramic nest 03) heaters feature durable shells that store and radiate heat for a long time. Not only are they energy-efficient – they also have a colorful, sleek look that’s universally appealing. Related: Egloo launches brilliant electricity-free heater that warms your home for just pennies a day The studio, led by Lucila Torres and Max Almeida, collaborated with Fernando González to develop the project. The team received $100,000 MXN ($5,200 USD) as winners of the Inédito award at the recently concluded Design Week Mexico. + Estudio äCo + Design Week Mexico

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These beautiful ceramic heaters help Mexicos vulnerable communities stay warm

This huge ‘tiny house’ on wheels can fit a family of five!

September 12, 2017 by  
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Tiny homes are a huge hit – but we’ve never seen one this big before! The Pemberly is a traveling house made from a large gooseneck trailer by Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses . It’s packed with enough features and amenities to accommodate a family of five. Measuring 37 feet in length, the Pemberly is based on a custom Trailer Made 30’+7? gooseneck trailer with Dexter air ride suspension axles that smooth out bumps in the road. The house weighs 21,000 lbs and has a total floor space of 460 square feet (42.7 square meters) The team made it easy to unhook the trailer from the truck – and the house automatically levels with a push of a button. Related: Self-sufficient SCARAB remote living habitat can be placed almost anywhere The interior is organized around the living room. The kitchen features a small wood-burning stove , granite countertops, custom cabinetry, a Miele induction cooktop, a combination steam and convection oven, a Bosch fridge, an on-demand hot water system, and a garbage disposal. The bathroom has a shower, a medicine cabinet, an efficient water heater and a whole house dehumidifier to rid the interior of excess moisture. Related: Affordable and compact Dinky Dub camper offers a modular twist to the vintage VW look A steel pipe ladder leads to the bedroom on top of the gooseneck. The bedroom has enough room to install a trundle bunk with a pull-out bed for temporary guests. This space also has a little room for toys and play time which can be closed off with a pocket door. A large catwalk connects the master bedroom to another bedroom with two closets. Air circulation is provided by an inline fan installed above the door. Two sets of vertical louvers provide privacy and block views from the outside, and LEDs light up the interior and exterior. + Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses Via New Atlas

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This huge ‘tiny house’ on wheels can fit a family of five!

Dutch studio unveils colorful solar-powered village for area homeless

July 20, 2017 by  
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Studio Elmo Vemijs from the Netherlands has created a beautiful tiny home village on the outskirts of Eindhoven to help those who find themselves in dire straits. The architects designed the neighborhood layout as well as the solar-powered , 355-square-feet homes to meet the specific needs of the residents. The inspiration for the village came from the Dutch phrase “Skaeve Huse” – roughly translated as “special homes for special people.” Working in collaboration with social housing organization, The Trudo Housing Corporation , the architects designed the tiny homes specifically for individuals suffering from mental illness, drug addiction, and anyone that simply has trouble living in a traditional home environment. Most Skaeve Huses are typically temporary shelters , but with this particular project, the team wanted to create a community of permanent, energy-neutral homes that could offer long-term benefits to the residents as well as the surrounding community. Related: Missouri community is building 50 tiny homes for homeless veterans Located on a tree-filled plot of land, the neighborhood is comprised out of a series of small, energy-efficient homes. All of the structures are made out of a corrugated steel facade with protruding window frames, but each has a unique color scheme. The interior layouts include an entrance hall, living room, kitchen, bathroom along with large windows that provide optimal natural light on the interior. Studio Elmo Vermijs designed the houses as well as the landscape architecture. Using the abundance of existing trees as a guide for the layout, walking paths were created that lead from home to home. The organization of the village gives each resident plenty of privacy and independence, but without creating an atmosphere of isolation. The surrounding greenery along with the home’s cheerful colors provide the village with a vibrant, fun atmosphere. + Studio Elmo Vermijs Via Curbed Images via Studio Elmo Vemijs  

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Monolithic stone building springs up at the base of a Norwegian waterfall

July 10, 2017 by  
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Bergen-based architects Fortunen AS worked with Østengen & Bergo to install a compact service building at the base of the beautiful Skjervet waterfall in Granvin, Norway, using locally-sourced materials. The nature of the project required a prudent building strategy , so the team designed the structure to blend into the natural landscape and appear as though it had been there for years. The terrain around the waterfall site is steep and quite difficult to maneuver. However, the rugged landscape and lush vegetation around the site were carefully protected during the entire construction phase. A single trail made of natural stone was chosen as the central nerve of the project, and became the inspiration for the building’s design. Related: Snøhetta unveils spectacular makeover for nation’s second-largest waterfall The compact structure, which consists of two restrooms and a small technical room, is clad in locally-sourced natural stone. The remaining building materials including rebar fencing and concrete benches were also chosen to blend into the environment. On the inside, panels of warm plywood cover the walls, with various narrow glazed cutouts that look out over the river, allowing for amazing views of the Storelvi River, forest, and mountains. The monolithic building’s steep slanted roof , along with the natural stone facade, creates a jagged silhouette that, although contemporary in style, strategically blends into the solid rock surroundings, creating a subtle addition to the area, rather than a distraction. This achieved the design team’s original intention, which was to create a series of “gentle interventions that look like they have always been in this terrain – despite their modern form. The combination of contemporary form, ancient craft and local materials create a timeless dimension to the project.” The Skjervet design earned the World Architecture News Small Spaces Award in 2016. + Fortunen AS + Østengen & Bergo

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Monolithic stone building springs up at the base of a Norwegian waterfall

World’s tiniest phone repair shops open in London’s iconic red telephone boxes

January 10, 2017 by  
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If you’re in London and need your gadget charged or repaired, you might want to look for that iconic red telephone box. A group of London-based techies have recently opened the world’s tiniest phone repair shop– Lovefonebox– housed in the city’s repurposed red telephone box, and promise to repair mobile devices in less than 30 minutes. The company, named Lovefone , have set up their first repair shop in a red telephone booth in Greenwich, London. They decided to bring these landmarks, made obsolete by mobile technology, back to life, and convert them into tiny mobile phone repair shops with a free charging service. Related: Iconic Verbier Ski Gondolas Repurposed into Stunning Shelters to be Auctioned for Charity Lovefone will start with locations in Greenwich and Knightsbridge and are planning another 6 boxes in London. Their aim is to have 35 locations in London over the next 18 months with franchise opportunities available outside London. + Lovefone

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World’s tiniest phone repair shops open in London’s iconic red telephone boxes

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